Ad Astra

Ad Astra

Posted on 01/01/2014

Photo taken on May 19, 2013

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Photographer: Amanda Miller

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thomas oken

thomas oken
St Marys Collegiate Church, Warwick, Warwickshire

"To ye memory of Mr Thomas Oken an ormnament to his own & a blessing to ages succeeding this monument defaced by ye late dreadfull fire is reerected & dedicated to FEOFFEES the Mayor and Alderman of this borough, whose industry being born of mean parents was so blessed in ye trade he exercised of a mercer that 37 mo H & he was Master of the Gild of ye Holy Trinity & St George now ye hospital of RE E of Leicester 5 to P & Marrae Bailiff of this borough & dying 15th Eliz gave to pious & charitable uses here an estate then left for fns ye 20 1 p an now by ye just care of his feoffees advanced notwithstanding the loss of several houses by ye late fire to more than 100 1 9 an also 100 1 to purchase land to enlarge ye common 30 1 to ye poor 10 1 to 30 poor maidens for marriages 94 ounces of wrought plate for ye use of ye bailiffs successively and to ye boroughs of Stratford & Banbury 40 1 each to be lent to honest tradesman.
This charity reader was so wisely instituted & ye trust so honestly executed ye if to thy faith thou art disposed to join good works thou needest seek no further for model or encouragement - or opportunity for ye have ye poor with you always."

Thomas Oken and his wife Jane lived in Warwick from the reign of Henry VII to the reign of Elizabeth I. He was a successful mercer and was heavily involved in local government. He was also a man of deep religious conviction.
He was the last master of the Guild of the Holy Trinity & st George which was dissolved in 1546.
Between 1544 and May 1545 he conducted difficult negotiations with the Kings commissioners to secure for the people of Warwick a substantial part of the church and guild endowments, preventing the effects of legislation's by the crown.
He was a principal Burgess named in the charter that followed and Bailiff from 1557-58.
He remained a member of the Corporation until his death July 29th 1573. In his will he left a salary for a school master, annual payments to the poor, for the paving of certain streets, repair for bridges, provisions for 6 people in the almshouse and £1 to be spent annually on a guild feast.